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by Smt. Anjali Ambekar
About Republic Day
26th January 1950 is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. In this day India became a totally republican unit. The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country. So, the 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India, ever since.
Two events are associated with India’s freedom from colonial rule. One is Independence Day(15th August) and the other, Republic Day (26th January). The former is a historical even when India gained independence in 1947 and freed herself from the foreign yoke after a protracted campaign for freedom, whereas the latter bestowed historicity on the day when India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic with a constitution to guide her destiny.
Republic Day reminds us of the fulfillment of the pledge that was made on the midnight of Independence as a “tryst with destiny”. It is future-oriented, a vision of India that we nourish, an acceptance of responsibility and making of promises as well as recapitulation of the achievements. The act of framing the Constitution puts a spotlight on B.R. Ambedkar whose indefatigable labour and sharp insights helped the preparation of the document.
The difference in significance marks the variation in the pattern of celebration of these two national days. On Independence Day, the past is recalled whereas, on Republic Day, the pledge is renewed. Independence Day has rhetoric built in the celebration; Republic Day is without speeches. It is the only ceremony in which rhetoric is in the background and visuals are given priority.
Celebrating Republic Day
Today, the Republic Day is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over the country and especially in the capital, New Delhi where the celebrations start with the Presidential to the nation. The beginning of the occasion is always a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defense of sovereignty of their country. Then, the President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations.
Republic Day is celebrated all over the country at all the administrative units like the capital cities, district headquarters, sub divisions, talukas, and panchayats. The major ceremonies at Delhi and the state capitals. To mark the importance of this occasion, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, from the Rajghat, along the Vijaypath. The different regiments of the army, the Navy and the Air force march past in all their finery and official decorations even the horses of the cavalry are attractively caparisoned to suit the occasion. The crème of N.C.C cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms.
The parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular displays from the different states of the country. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display.
Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion.
The patriotic fervor of the people on this day brings the whole country together even in her essential diversity.
It is a people’s day in more senses than one. Firstly, the constitution whose promulgation is celebrated is highly symbolic of the aspirations which ‘we the people of India’ cherish. It ushered in a social revolution silently by changing the status of the individual from a subject of a colonial empire to a citizen of a free country. It laid down the method of governance and established the relationship of the citizen to the state. It endeavours to secure justice, liberty, equality and fraternity and assures the dignity of the individual by conferring fundamental rights upon the citizen. With one stroke, it abolished all distinctions of status, rank, creed, colour and sex. It outlawed untouchability, an abominable social practice that had created discrimination and tensions in society.
Secondly, much of the social change consequent upon the new legislation has its roots in the Directive Principles of State Policy. The Constitution is the Supreme law. Hence Republic Day is sacrosanct as its significance is deep-rooted. India at present owes its programmes to the Constitution.
Thirdly, it is a day of the citizen of the country when he is supreme. Symbolically, he can fly the national flag on his vehicle and at the top of his house. It is a great privilege.
Origin of Republic Day
India gained independence on August 15, 1947. But till January 26, 1950, it did not have the proper law of the land for ruling the country. On this particular date in1950 the constitution of India came into force and India became true nation state with true sovereign and republic sense.
Our constitution was formed by the Indian Constituent Assembly. The Indian Constituent Assembly met on December 9, 1946. The Assembly appointed a number of committees to report on the various aspects of the proposed constitution. Dr. B.R.Ambedkar was as the Chairman to draft the Constitution. The committee finalized the draft with 395 Articles and eight Schedules and was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. The Indian Republic officially came into being on January 26, 1950.
January 26 was not some random date picked out of the calendar. It was on this date in 1927, that the Indian National Congress, then fighting its non-violent war for freedom, voted for complete independence as against 'dominion status'. It was the date when members of the INC took the pledge to work towards a 'sovereign democratic republic' of India. The Indian Constitution, the longest in the world, now consist of 397 articles and 12 schedules which provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India. It gives the right to vote to all the citizens of 18 years and above, unless they are disqualified. Fundamental rights are guaranteed to the citizens, equality of religion and so on. The Supreme Court, consisting of the Chief Justice of India and other judges, are the guardian of the Constitution. It stands at the apex of a single integrated judicial system for the whole country. This is where the fundamental rights of the citizens are protected.
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Phullakusumita drumadala shobhinim,
Suhasinim sumadhura bhashinim,
Sukhadam varadam, Mataram!
Preamble to the Constitution of India
Just as every book we read, comes with a preface which gives us a brief outline and the central theme of that book, so is the case with the preamble of Indian Constitution.
The Preamble being the preface of the constitution lays down the basic makeup of the Constitution.
The Indian Preamble highlights the type of society and government it wishes India and Indians to have. For this, it has tried to incorporate the objectives of the Constitution in a nutshell. The Preamble of the constitution has used the noblest words which symbolize the highest principles and values of human creativity and experience.
World over, the Preamble of the Indian Constitution is regarded highly for its originality in wholeness of approach in dealing with so many subjects.
The Indian preamble wishes India to be a country where there should be no high class and low class of citizens; an India in which all communities will co-exist in perfect harmony.
Interestingly, the Indian Constitution is the longest of all the constitutions by any other nation.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
On Republic Day regional identity gives way to national identity. Neither caste, creed nor religion matter. What is predominant is the Indianness of the people.
* * * Jai Hind * * *